to give/to be given

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to give/to be given

Post by navi » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:00 am

Can one use:
1) Tim has designed a house to build on the empty lot near the central square.
instead of:
2) Tim has designed a house to be built on the empty lot near the central square.

Can one use:
3) The minister of education has sent me papers to give to the President.
instead of:
4) The minister of education has sent me papers to be given to the President.

Gratefully,
Navi.
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Re: to give/to be given

Post by Bobinwales » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:59 pm

i is wrong
2 is fine
3 is OK
4 is better
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: to give/to be given

Post by navi » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:47 pm

Thank you very much, Bob, for both your replies,

Would you say '3' and '4' mean the same thing?

Gratefully,
Navi.
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Re: to give/to be given

Post by tony h » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:37 pm

I would say both pairs are substantially equivalent.

There are differences but you would have to be very lawyerish to rely solely on the differences those sentences to impart meaning.
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With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: to give/to be given

Post by navi » Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:36 am

Thank you very much, Tony,

I love your 'lawyerish'. I had invented 'lawyerly' for the same purpose, but 'lawyerish' sounds better.

How do you feel about this one:
5) The minister of education has brought documents to give to the President.

I think one possible meaning is:
5a) The minister of education has brought documents in order to give them to the President. (He intends to give them to the President.)

But could '5' also mean:
5b) The minister of education has brought documents to be given to the President. (The documents are supposed to be given to the President, but most probably the minister won't be the one to give them to him.)

I am pretty sure that '5' can mean '5a', but I have doubts as to whether it could mean '5b' as well.

Gratefully,
Navi.
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Re: to give/to be given

Post by tony h » Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:53 pm

navi wrote:I love your 'lawyerish'. I had invented 'lawyerly' for the same purpose, but 'lawyerish' sounds better.
Thank you.
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With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: to give/to be given

Post by Phil White » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:43 pm

navi,

your assessment is generally correct in all cases, but it depends, as always, on the discourse context whether the examples would be understood in all cases with the meanings intended. This is precisely what Tony meant. If both parties to the discourse are aware that somebody is going to meet somebody else personally and has documents that need to be given to that person, it is a fair assumption that they will hand over the documents themselves. In the absence of that background information, or in the case of an extremely formal occasion (such as meeting a president, where you do not carry documents around with you), then the assumption cannot be made.

But I also have to agree with Bob. Your sentence 1 really does sound very strange indeed. Only after reading it a second time did I think "okay, so you might be able to say that". It would probably be far more normal to say something like "Tim has designed a house he intends to build on the empty lot near the central square." Sentence 3, on the other hand, is fine. I cannot really think of any reason why sentence 1 sounds strange and sentence 3 does not.
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Non sum felix lepus

Re: to give/to be given

Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:00 am

Phil White wrote:Sentence 3, on the other hand, is fine. I cannot really think of any reason why sentence 1 sounds strange and sentence 3 does not.
Sentence 1 is constructed in an ambiguous way which leaves the reader uncertain as to whose perspective is being described — the builder's or the house's.

Almost always, we speak of a house that is [going] to be built (passive voice). To me, sentence 1 seems more like an oddball application of the middle voice (an example of conventional use being "These potatoes don't peel well").
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